“Is it some kind of a curse to be a Zimbabwean? Why does it appear as if we are always one of those unfortunate countries to be presided over by some of the worst leaders on the planet?”
Tendai Ruben Mbofana
These very painful and difficult questions have hounded me for as long as I can remember – from my childhood in the 1980s (when I witnesses the most heinous and vile incidents of state-sponsored brutality against an innocent hapless population), to the continued savage repression and injustices that still persist today, under the same cold-hearted administration.
Nearly on a daily basis, I find asking myself, “Why us, dear God. Why us?”
Of course, this is a question that I am sure most of us have asked ourselves, or each other, but seldom receive an adequate response, neither do we possess the capacity, nor the ability, to fathom the reasons why a particular person, or group of people, or nation, always seem to get the short end of the stick in life…and, with increasingly maddening regularity.
No wonder there will always be those who run for the only other explanation, “Probably, we are cursed” – as much as this may not be spiritually, or logically, sound – but, at least it provides the human mind something akin to a plausible reason, since the brain will never stop asking the hard questions, as long as someone is still alive.
Otherwise, what else can we tell ourselves, or how else can we comfort ourselves, or explain our endless predicament, at the hands of those who continually force themselves upon us (even though we do not want them anymore) – savaging every sinew of our livelihoods, whilst decimating whatever semblance of existence and dignity we still had in tact, and tormenting us on a daily basis…as if this was the only purpose they were placed on this planet for?
Honestly, each and every morning I wake up, and go through the news media (both local and international) I can never escape being gripped by the same sense of depression, exasperation, and hopelessness – which, then, immediately turns into anger and outrage – as I notice how people in other countries (including our neighbors, as South Africa and Botswana) appear to, at the very least, enjoy a respectable level of dignity, considering how their leaders are relatively accountable, as they try their best to ensure commendable standards of democracy, respect for human rights, upholding the rule of law, and decent livelihoods for their citizenry.
Whenever I watch South African media, especially the public broadcaster, SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation), I can not help being amazed, and even envious, of how their leaders (including the presidency) are prepared to be publicly held to account for everything that they do in the country – as their policies and behavior are placed under strict scrutiny, without fear or favour.
Yet, on the other hand, in my own Zimbabwe, the so-called public media is nothing more that a desk in the ruling ZANU PF party’s publicity and information department – since, its only detectable purpose is to sing the endless praises of the country’s ruling elite, whilst shamelessly defending even the apparently indefensible – thereby, allowing the leadership to literally get away with murder, as they destroy every facet our lives, without ever being made answerable.
Furthermore, as our neighbors strengthen their democracies, by respecting the role and mandate of the opposition – which is to criticize the current government, and offer itself as a preferable alternative, in a free, fair, and credible contestation – our own Zimbabwe ruling military junta is busy labeling their main rivals “terrorists”, without so much as proffering any shred of evidence of such a serious accusation.
This is, of course, a highly dangerous call, which is a likely precursor to the increased closing off of the little democratic space still in existence, and the unleashing of a brutal crackdown on any voices of dissent – a scenario that Zimbabweans know all too well, and has been the hallmark of the ZANU PF regime’s notorious tyrannical rule.
In fact, the only “terrorism” Zimbabweans are traumatically aware of, is state-sponsored – since those are the hands that have massacred tens of thousands of Zimbabweans, hundreds of thousands more being maimed, and millions displaced and made homeless, under the pretext of fighting “dissidents” – whilst, others have disappeared, have been abducted, beaten up, prosecuted on spurious charges, as a result of a relentless reign of terror that has stretched over 41 years.
Let me add that, it is quite provocative and insulting for Zimbabwean authorities to play around with, and trivialize, such emotive and sensitive terms as “terrorism” – more so, when our own neighbor, Mozambique, has been gripped by a real terrorist incursion for the past few years, and it is rudely inconsiderate for anyone to equate the ruthless barbaric brutality that the people of the region of Del Gardo have been enduring, with what a relatively peaceful opposition in Zimbabwe is doing.
If anything, the plight of these innocent men, women, and children in this Mozambican region immediately invokes memories of the Matebeleland and Midlands Gukurahundi genocide perpetrated by those in Zimbabwe, who have the audacity to label others “terrorists”.
My fervent prayer is that, we as Zimbabweans, will soon (not later) have a government that respects us as living breathing human beings – who were fearfully and wonderfully created by our living God, in His likeness and image – and, that we ourselves, as the oppressed and subjugated, will one day find the courage to reclaim our stolen God-given dignity.
As a matter of fact, we are not cursed – but, we are blessed. Yet, the only way to experience and enjoy those blessings is not to wait for them to come to us on their own, but to fearlessly stand up for them, and demand them.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org